OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ search for a new offensive coordinator was an extensive one. Ravens coach John Harbaugh and a committee led by assistant head coach Anthony Weaver interviewed 14 candidates over a span of four weeks.
But Baltimore’s eventual hire, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, first got on Harbaugh’s radar as the result of a call from — of all people — his sister.
Joani Crean is married to Tom Crean, who coached the Georgia men’s basketball team from 2018 to 2022. During their time there, they befriended Monken and his wife.
So when Baltimore parted ways with offensive coordinator Greg Roman last month, Joani called Harbaugh and said, “You’ve got to talk to Todd Monken. He’s amazing. He’s a great coach. We’ve seen what he’s done here at Georgia.”
Monken was unaware of the vote of confidence given by Harbaugh’s sister, but he believes his time at Georgia will serve him well in his new role. When asked about the pressure to fix the Ravens’ offense, Monken pointed to the high expectations at Georgia.
In Baltimore, he takes over an offense that struggled down the stretch last year — five touchdowns in the final six regular-season games — and faces an uncertain future with quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is expected to receive the franchise tag this offseason. The Ravens finished last season by averaging 20.9 points per game, their fewest in seven years.
“There’s pressure everywhere,” Monken said. “It’s what we do; that’s what we sign up for; that’s our job. Anybody that says that doesn’t come with the territory, they’re lying. That’s a big part of what we do, and yet that’s some of what drives us — that challenge of doing it better than they do it, because that’s what it comes down to in the NFL.”
Monken added, “Like I always say, we’re paid to score, and if you don’t score, that’s no fun.”
The hiring of Monken feels like a new era of offense for Baltimore.
In four seasons with Roman, the Ravens would line up a couple of tight ends and a 300-pound fullback to run the ball. Roman called it going “medieval.”
It seems like Monken will modernize Baltimore’s attack. The Ravens will incorporate more balance, more up-tempo plays and more spread formations. During Monken’s 20-minute introductory press conference Tuesday, he used the word “space” seven times.
“It’s about being explosive,” Monken said. “Well, how do you create explosives? Well, part of it is creating space. So, that’s probably the biggest thing is, ‘How do you find a way to incorporate that into your offense?’ I think also being no-huddle, some tempo [and] what that provides because [in the college game] we were all no-huddle. It’s a little bit different then because of the dynamics of a signal system, and then the [radio communication] green dot to the quarterback. So, you have to work through some of that. But it’s a speed bump, not a hurdle.”
In addition to his sister’s seal of approval, Harbaugh was sold on Monken for his versatility. Monken has a track record of building an offense around the talent he has.
“[He has] not necessarily a one-system type of an approach like, ‘This is our system and we fit the players to the system,’ but a player-driven approach that, ‘We’re going to build the system around the players and around the personality of the team,’” Harbaugh said. “I think our fanbase is going to be really excited with what we see from this offense going forward. I know I am.”